Same sex marriage become legal in England and Wales

As of midnight tonight, same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales(Scotland has separate SSM legislation) and couples are already lining up in places like Camden and Brighton to tie the knot the moment the clock strikes twelve.

There will even be a few rainbow flags on government buildings including Camden Town Hall and in Westminster (at the behest of the Deputy PM). Despite the usual grumbling from the Church and some (but not all!) Conservative MPs, this looks like it’s going ahead.

And about damn time too.

So will my Canadian marriage to a Briton, currently recognized as a Civil Partnership in the UK, change to being recognized as a marriage?


Not sure, since it’s a foreign marriage, but I’d assume so. It’s probably buried somewhere in the legislation.

If you had formally had a Civil Partnership in England or Wales, however, you can get it changed to a marriage:

Same-sex marriages are expected to start happening in Scotland in the autumn some time. And of course NI isn’t doing squat about SSM, although they will recognize SSMs from elsewhere as civil partnerships.

Yeah, this is one of the weird things about SSM. Our California Domestic Partnership (2007) was recognized by the UK as a Civil Partnership. We didn’t dissolve that when we married in Canada (2011), but that was also recognized as a Civil Partnership—no change. Or perhaps bigamy, it’s hard to tell.

In any case, here’s to progress!

We were out and about on Saturday and even the Cutty Sark had a rainbow flag flying. :slight_smile:

A British friend of mine got civilly partnered in Canada years ago - her partner’s South African by birth, not sure about what she is now, but the reason they did it was to avoid a big wedding while still getting something legally recognised as a civil partnership in the UK. It is now automatically recognised as a marriage too. Though if and when it really counts it would probably be worth double-checking.

Checking around, yep, they’re recognizing foreign marriages. So last month we weren’t married in the UK, and this month in the UK we’ve been married for a couple of years. No doubt they have a Time Lord on staff at the Registry Office.

Yup, section 10 of the act recognizes foreign same-sex marriages. Actually, that section (along with most of the act) came into force on the 13th of March; the delay till the 29th for the first ceremonies was because there’s a notice period.

I have to say that you two have had a helluva journey these last few years. ISTR at one point you were worried about your partner getting deported or not allowed into the US or something like that. Now SSM is legal in Canada, England AND California (including US federal government recognition).

As the man says, it gets better.

Thanks! Yes, we left the US because Mr. Mallard’s visa was up and we wanted to stay on the right side of the law. It does get better: the world is so much better now for gay people than when I was a kid, not all THAT long ago. It’s truly astounding.

I’m really grateful to all the straight people who have questioned their prejudices and worked to support the gay community, all because their friends, family, and fellow humans were more important to them than their preconceived notions and ingrained cultural biases.

It gives me many warm fuzzies to see that the land of my birth is Doing The Right Thing. Honestly, it seems like this have gotten better in so many ways since I left.

Yep. We’re a minority, so we do need the majority to stand up for us too, and it has been great over the past couple of decades to see lots of people doing just that in many areas other than sexuality.

It also bears repeating that even the Conservative party has given a fair share of support to the measure, although this may be in part due to some of the more curmudgeonly types defecting to UKIP (who opposed it).

And even the Church has its supporters: I give you the Bishop of Salisbury:

Also note this, from the Bishop of Buckingham:

Whoa. This is not your grandfather’s C of E.

I’m curious to see whether the U.S. will recognize the retroactivity of U.K civil partnerships that retroactively become full marriages under the new law. I’m working on green cards right now for 2 different U.S./U.K. couples who had U.K. civil partnerships under the old law that have just become marriages form the inception. In the meantime, both couples also got hitched in the U.S. as soon as SSM became valid for U.S. immigration purposes and started the immigration process that way, and will likely get green cards before the second anniversaries of their U.S. marriages. I am wondering whether they will be exempt from the normal requirement to file a joint petition to remove the conditionson the foreign spouse’s permanent residence, because if the retroactivity of the UK civil partnership is accepted, they will all have been married much longer than 2 years by the time their initial green cards are issued.

Oof. Is the marriage actually considered retroactive to the Civil Partnership registration date if you “convert” the CP into a marriage, or are you only “married” from the date of conversion?

I can’t say I approve of much the current government has done, but at least they managed one good thing!

Even as a straight person, it’s pretty mind boggling how big an attitude change there’s been in the last 20 years- a friend (not at my school, we were both at single sex schools) used to regularly get detentions ‘for being gay’ as the only ‘out’ boy in the school. It didn’t occur to anyone to do anything more than sympathise- who could you complain to? Who would care? It was just the way things were.
If that was now, it could easily make national news.

We’re not exactly there yet, as is made sadly obvious by the wretched hive of scum and villainy that passes for my workmates (or at least a depressingly high proportion of them), but it really is getting better.

My clients are telling me it’s the former, but we have a while for that to shake out, I guess. I haven’t had a chance to read the Act myself yet.

The conversion from CP to marriage is not automatic (and it’s not yet possible to do - the secondary legislation for doing so has not yet been published) but when a CP is converted the marriage is backdated to the date of the original CP. From section 9(6):

Cool - thank you.

Sir Elton and his Saskatchewan civil partner are planning on having a formal wedding, rather than just converting their civil partnership.